Christians and Group Identity

The Left (among others) misunderstands Christians

Stephen L. Carter has an interesting article at Bloomberg which notes that the New Yorker’s attack on Chick-fil-A as an infiltrating Christian organization “ignores the truth about religion in America” and “reveals an ugly narrow-mindedness.”

Carter’s central thesis is, “When you mock Christians, you’re not mocking who you think you are.” He then goes on to point out that women, and black women in particular, are more likely to be Christians than men or white people. In addition, the age demographics of non-white Christians skews younger; thus, white Christians tend to be older, while non-white Christians tend to be younger. Immigrants tend to be Christian as well. Carter’s point is that for all the progressive left’s insistence that it is for minorities, the young, and the immigrant, they end up mocking the faith held by a significant portion of those they claim to represent.

The fact is that the left doesn’t really understand Christianity; perhaps the same goes for some on the right. Even the attempt (though, perhaps well-intentioned) to subdivide Christians into categories based on skin color or ethnicity belies the fact that they do not understand or appreciate that Christians believe that they are united in Christ through “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) and that the Church is composed of people from all tribes, nations, and languages (Revelation 7:9). Christians ought not to speak as if the color of one’s skin or the place of one’s ancestral origin makes us qualitatively different from one another or separates us from one another, because in Christ we are all one body (Ephesians 4:4ff; Galatians 3:28).

Granted, there are self-professed Christians who do not hold to this view, just as there are those on the left who do not separate people into group identities. These are outliers, though, and normally considered heterodox by both sides. That is to say, the left views people primarily according to their group identity, and the group identity to which a person “belongs” is defined by skin color, sexual orientation, or other things we can “see” (i.e. a person’s behavior or physical attributes). It is hard for the left to understand beliefs which cut across these groups. (This probably also explains the left’s oxymoronic relationship with Islam. Islam is no friend of many of the groups the left champions, and yet the left seems blind to this fact.)

For Christians, though, the overriding “group identity” is centered in Christ and found in him, not in skin color, gender, language, or ethnicity. Yes, there are differences in belief and practice among Christians, but Christians ultimately recognize that though they may look different and speak different, and be separated by geography, ancestry, and even generations, they are all part of the same Church of Christ (“one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” as the Nicene Creed puts it; “catholic” meaning “universal” in the classical sense).

This is a message that gets lost in all the polls and analyses of the demographics of Christianity. Yes, the white Christian population in America is declining. We can weep for those who have fallen away from the Church while thanking God that He is raising up new Christians and sending them to our shores to re-evangelize our country. The Christian Church does not belong to any one of us, she belongs to Christ. And thank God that there are still Christians who realize that their ultimate authority is to Christ and not to some politician, political party, social movement, or other idol which will finally give way to the one true King.

Good words, Mr. Simms. Thanks.


My Puerto Rican Father grew up in the Bronx surrounded by old-school Irish/Italian immigrants (who actually sounded like it) that were rock-ribbed Catholics. He now lives in retirement in the Philippines, surrounded by five foot tall Asians who belong to the exact same church. To the Left, this makes no sense. And that is because they do not understand religious conviction. They instead look at religion the same way they do race. You're born into it and die from it.

I have a question. If "Christians" are all "of one body" why do they vote differently? Because, at least from where I'm standing, whether someone is White or Black, immigrant or male or female influences their voting pattern a lot more than the nominal Lord they pray too. So is there any actual data to suggest say Perto Ricans, and Asians, to use FloridaMan's example, behave identically to the Irish they've replaced?

Thank you!